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Braves hot list

Tim Hudson
Tim Hudson
AP Photo

The Braves hot list is a bi-weekly look at the top Atlanta performers up to this point in the year. The list looks at the entire season, and isn't snapshot of the players riding hot streaks.

1. Jason Heyward

Previous Ranking - 1

How good has this kid been? He isn't just leading the Atlanta offense; he's among the league leaders in major statistical categories across the board. It's gotten to the point where we all expect magic to happen every time he steps into the box, and more often than not, he justifies our hope with a powerful swing of the bat.

2. Martin Prado

Previous Ranking - 4

Imagine the frustrated fans calling into talk radio wondering how we could let the slugging Kelly Johnson, now with 12 homers, leave town - Prado has been so good that the all the arm-chair GM's are busy talking about Javier Vazquez instead. Prado has been on top of his game from day one and has rose to the challenge of hitting lead-off.

3. Tim Hudson

Previous Ranking - 3

Hudson has been machine-like in his consistency this season; he's allowed two or less runs in nine of his ten starts. This is the Tim Hudson the Braves thought they were getting from the Athletics, as of right now he's the best starting pitcher in the rotation.

4. Billy Wagner

Previous Ranking - 5

I wonder how many teams will attempt to persuade Wagner to pitch next year? The veteran closer still has plenty left in the tank, his .95  WHIP and 14.4 SO/9 provide statistical evidence that his dominant arm is still extinguishing ninth inning hopes.

5. Jonny Venters

Previous Ranking - Not Ranked

Venters has been in the Atlanta organization since 2004, while toiling in the minors he developed a reputation as a lefty that didn't quite have enough fastball to excel in the major leagues - that reputation no longer applies. Jonathan William Venters has been breathtaking coming out of the pen, he's my biggest surprise of the season.

5. Eric Hinske

Previous Ranking - 6

Hinske's bat has been hot since opening day; his .610 SLG% leads the team and he gave the offense vital life when the team was struggling to score runs early in season.

7. Kris Medlen

Previous Ranking - 7

With the announcement that Jair Jurrjens was going to miss a considerable amount of time, the Braves season seemed to take a body blow that might cripple the team; but Medlen stepped right into the rotation and cemented what many Atlanta fans had been thinking - that Kris Medlen's future is in the rotation.

8. Tommy Hanson

Previous Ranking - 2

Hanson hit a rough patch that saw him give up 13 earned runs in back to back starts against the Diamondbacks and Reds, but he's bounced back nicely winning his last two outings. He'll be fine, the velocity is still in the mid-90's and his breaking pitches look great - the command has been so-so and has caused most of his struggles.

9. Troy Glaus

Previous Ranking - Not Ranked

The Braves' big off-season acquisition roared through the month of May - and helped carry the Atlanta offense through a torrid stretch of baseball. He's second on the team with eight home runs and despite his slow start, has now driven in 37 runs.

Honorable Mention

Chipper Jones - The power needs to come around - but .401 OBP is good for 5th in the NL.

Takashi Saito - Last three games; 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 7 SO.

Eric O'Flaherty - Has been great against lefties, but also solid against right-handers.




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